Rep. Jon Thorup has remained in touch with his fellow legislators since the session was suspended due to COVID-19. Much of his time has been spent fielding phone calls from constituents regarding the disease.
Thorup says most of the callers have struggled to reach the Department of Human Services. He has helped facilitate connections with assistance agencies.
The original date for the end of the session was April 21. The next day, he is scheduled to return to his day job with the Iowa State Patrol. As for when the session will resume, he does not believe it will be until June – or when the peak of COVID-19 cases has been passed.
Though no legislation is being written, he still hears from lobbyists. When the Legislature resumes, he believes the only work done will be in regard to the budget.
In his discussions with individual legislators, the subject of a stimulus package to repair Iowa’s economy with state funds has arisen. Thorup himself would support the right kind of stimulus package. Even if there is no stimulus from the State, Thorup encourages those who receive payments from the federal CARES Act to use the money to buy gift certificates from local businesses.
With a portion of Iowa’s economy closed, tax collections are going to be lower than expected. He believes the Revenue Estimating Conference, which figures revenue projections for the state to help legislators create a budget, should meet again before the session resumes. Thorup is very concerned about how low state revenue will be due to the COVID-19 pandemic.